A hot potato: Uber clearly believes the perceived benefits of audio recording outweigh the shortcomings associated with personal privacy. They'll need to tread very carefully, however, as this is a hot-button subject right now with severe implications if mishandled.
Uber is reportedly planning to pilot a new feature in some Latin American cities next month that’ll record audio during rides in an effort to promote a safer environment.
The Washington Post first learned of the controversial feature, which is eventually destined for the US, via internal Uber communications. The ridesharing company has since confirmed the plans with the publication.
According to The Post, the feature would be opt-in and allow users to activate an audio recording during any or all trips. Neither the driver nor the rider would be able to listen back to the recording, the report notes. The encrypted audio file would only be for the ears of Uber customer support agents who would use it to better understand what transpired in the event of an incident.
Given the current landscape regarding privacy concerns, it would seem like a risky move for Uber. Furthermore, many regions have strict laws regarding wiretapping and eavesdropping – how does Uber plan to circumvent those? What happens if Uber later decides to somehow monetize this data?
Uber has been doing a lot lately to enhance the safety of both its drivers and riders. In September, for example, the company rolled out a feature called RideCheck that uses your smartphone’s various sensors to detect potential crashes, sudden stops and even unusual or unexpected routes.
Smartphone recording by ninefotostudio